I'm a big fan of simple search tools, and one of the areas that's been booming lately is video search. There are dozens of popular services for hosting video, but few for crawling all of them at once. Video search service Truveo, which was quickly gobbled up by AOL after launching in late 2005, has been fairly quiet for the last year or so. Their technology powers video search for AOL, Windows Live Search, Metacrawler, and CNET's own Search.com tool, along with many other services you're likely to recognize. Today they're re-launching Truveo.com, in hopes to compete with Google, Yahoo, and Blinkx's video search tools.
Truveo's claim to fame is that they crawl and index both user-generated video sites, along with ones that put out professional media content like NBC and CBS. For example, searching for an episode of The Office will pull up results from YouTube and Google video (what hasn't been taken down at least), along with links to "official" video hosted on NBC's various video pages, and links to various episodes for purchase at online stores like iTunes. It will also list videos from other video services like BBC News, Blip.tv, and Metacafe. The key emphasis, however, isn't on user generated content, as much as professionally produced video content.
A good number of the videos indexed through Truveo will play right in the engine, except for ones that have rights usage restrictions. A big change old Truveo users will notice with the re-launch is that videos play much larger than they used to--many now appear twice as big. There's also an increased emphasis on sharing, and community features--including a way to build your own widget containing a hit list of clips you've bookmarked.
A great use for services like this is for finding recent video clips from news stations. Google's video search is great for finding the most popular content on YouTube and Google Video, but head-to-head, Truveo did a much better job at finding recent clips, and avoiding the "backyard" handicam videos you tend to run into. Blinkx on the other hand was just as capable at finding similar content, although I prefer Truveo's static result pages to Blinkx's visual overload of moving thumbnails and auto-playing videos.
I've embedded an example of the video playlist widget after the jump. There are also several more screenshots. To see them, click the "read more" link below.